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Harold Hutchison / Jul. 28, 2020

The Double Standard of the Menu Police

Equal enforcement of the laws should be the rule, not the exception.

If you want evidence of the double standard that’s been applied to the Wuhan coronavirus lockdowns, just look at the way the protests over the death of George Floyd have been handled and the rise of the “menu police” in New York bars and restaurants. This double standard speaks volumes to many Americans.

In the case of the bars, it was obvious. New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo had issued a directive designed to keep people from congregating while waiting to order drinks, thereby helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The directive said that alcohol could only be sold to patrons who first ordered food, but the governor’s regulators quickly stepped in when many New York bars began offering chips, fruit, or a few pretzels with drinks — and thereby minimally complying with the order. And who can blame these business owners? They’d suffered under the state’s shutdowns for months in what was arguably the most massive regulatory taking in American history.

New York’s liquor-regulating authorities, however, quickly declared that even chicken wings with beer were not acceptable — that a legitimate food order had to include at least a sandwich. In California, a similar directive was instituted.

We mentioned the apparent callousness shown by the likes of Cuomo some three months ago, when many were protesting the lockdowns. That was bad enough, but then we learned that these same experts were playing favorites.

The restrictions went far beyond food and drink, however. In New Jersey, for example, two men who owned a gym were taken down in a major law enforcement operation when they restructured their gym’s floor plan to allow more spacing between patrons and then defied their Democrat governor’s lockdown order. Many Americans have had to surrender not just their livelihoods, but their ability to comfort a dying family member in a hospital or to grieve for the loss of a loved one.

And all the while, we see video of massive “social justice” protests in these same states — with no regulatory concern for social distancing. The favoritism shown these events is palpable — as was the Supreme Court’s disappointing ruling (with Chief Justice John Roberts being the deciding vote) against a Nevada church seeking relief from a clearly discriminatory set of rules.

These double standards come at a great cost. The pain and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus has been bad enough, but Americans also understand that the virus doesn’t care if it’s being spread at a funeral or a gym or a protest. So when the state cracks down on one set of activities while granting a free pass for politically favored activities, it’s only natural for the people to ask questions.

When those questions are brushed off at best, and actively derided at worst, it leads us to rightly conclude that our elected officials are not providing us with equal protection under the law, but instead are playing favorites. Liberty, then, becomes a casualty — as does our confidence in those we trust with power.

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